CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to EADT Suffolk today CLICK HERE

A little more conversation . . . with artist Graham Crowley

PUBLISHED: 09:15 17 February 2015 | UPDATED: 09:15 17 February 2015

At home with painter Graham Crowley.

At home with painter Graham Crowley.

Archant

One of Britain’s leading contemporary artists has recently arrived in Suffolk, and as Andrew Clarke discovers, he is marking his arrival by participating in a major exhibition at The Sainsbury Centre

At home with painter Graham Crowley.At home with painter Graham Crowley.

Graham Crowley is an artist, but more than that, he is a painter.

He has spent a lifetime captivated by a fascination with painting. He loves the way that paint can illuminate a canvas, create atmosphere, texture and define an idea. For Graham, painting is all about a dialogue with the viewer – it is about communication, generating a discussion about thoughts and ideas.

He believes that art is great for advancing arguments for social change. It can shine a spotlight on aspects of life that would otherwise be overlooked in the world of petty point-scoring, for example, in modern politics.

“Art is about life. It is about us, so nothing is off limits,” he says.

No SuchThinge by Graham CrowleyNo SuchThinge by Graham Crowley

Graham is a recent arrival in Wickham Market after a life that he admits has been characterised by itchy feet.

Born in Essex, he attended St Martin’s School of Art and lived in London for many years before spells in Oxford, Cardiff, Staunton in the Forest of Dean, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton and then West Cork, Ireland, before returning to London.

He moved partly because that was where the work was, but he looked for paid residencies because he wanted to explore different places and he wanted his children to experience a life that was not rooted in central London.

Graham arrived in Wickham Market, which he is cheerfully predicting will be his last move, seven months ago.

“It’s a fantastic place and Suffolk has a wonderful artistic heritage. I knew East Anglia very well, having been born in Romford and going to school in Chelmsford. I decided to move here at the age of 64 because I didn’t want to spend my final years, however many they may be, in SE22.

“More than that I wanted another chapter in my life, another adventure, another project. I am not a slave to commodity. I never have been someone to land on a signature style and then spend the next 40 years turning out variations of that central theme. My art changes with time and experience and I wanted to explore a new world.”

He understands why galleries like artists to deliver recognisable work – it makes it easier to sell – but artistic integrity also has to remain intact.

“I understand that we have to sell our work. I do like to eat and we all have bills to pay. I have no problem with reality but, like John Ruskin in the 19th century, I believe that art is not just about pleasure it should also make us think more.”

Graham Crowley currently has two paintings on display at the Sainsbury Centre in Norwich in the Reality: Modern and Contemporary British Painting exhibition, alongside such heavyhitters as Lucien Freud, Francis Bacon, David Hockney, George Shaw, Caroline Walker and Jenny Saville.

“Art can help us become better people. My painting No Such Thing was my response to Mrs Thatcher’s statement that there was no such thing as society. You can make of it what you will.

“I am not dictating a response, but the painting is the starting point for a discussion you can have with yourself, your family/friends, or even with your local MP. Everyone brings their own ideas and their own life experiences to a picture so everyone sees it differently.

“I describe art not as an activity, but as a discourse. It’s not a case of whether you like it or not, but what you think about it is really important. Good art doesn’t supply all the answers. It’s up to you to join all the dots and come up with your own take on things.”

Graham says one of the most important aspects of his landscapes are the shadows because they represent an absence of information – it is up to the viewer to fill in the blanks.

“The subject matter may be the landscape, but the content is light and shadow. The shadows make them what they are.”

Graham is not only a painter. Writing is a valuable part of the artistic dialogue he seeks. Essays and interviews are posted to his website and some have been collected together in a book, I Don’t Like Art, which is to be published later this year.

“It isn’t art criticism, it’s creative writing. It’s a collection of reflections on the work of several contemporary painters – a vehicle for current ideas regarding culture and value.

“I like to avoid using the word art when I can because the word is often used as a euphemism or an evasion. There is no intelligible definition of art and no one seriously asks themselves ‘what is art?’ any longer. Like gravity, we have to accept it.”

Graham has no intention of retiring or slowing down. “I paint because I love painting, so why would I want to stop? Besides I have a wonderful new county to explore.”

Reality: Modern and Contemporary British Painting runs at The Sainsbury Centre, Norwich until March 1.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other EADT Suffolk Magazine visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by EADT Suffolk Magazine staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique EADT Suffolk Magazine account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Friday, December 7, 2018

A typical part of the Suffolk village scene is the village sign, standing tall in a prominent part of the area and succinctly giving you an insight into the area’s history. Here are 15 Suffolk town or village signs and what they mean

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

If you’re looking for someone to enjoy a few days in Suffolk this festive period then look no further than these 6 gorgeous locations

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Christmas is a wonderful time to spend with loved ones and there’s no better place to do that than Suffolk, with its outstanding natural beauty, charming villages and festive foodie delights

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

From Waveney and the Suffolk coast to Dedham Vale, these 19 pictures are guaranteed to get you exploring the beautiful towns and countryside of Suffolk this winter

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Suffolk in winter time is a magical place to be. There are Christmas markets, chilly walks, and days by the blustery seaside to be had. These 17 nostalgic pictures will definitely bring out that unique festive feeling.

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Invitation to View tours reveal the surprising wartime roles of East Anglia’s historic town and country properties | Words & Photos: Lindsay Want

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Are you searching for places to go this winter? Suffolk has some truly magical places simply perfect for a day out with the family that are sure to get you feeling festive. Here are 9 locations you have to visit over the Christmas holiday

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

As the season of parties approaches, hotel and restaurateur Milsoms is itself celebrating a milestone for one of its popular venues | Words: Ross Bentley

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Lindsay Want wanders the pilgrims’ paths and concrete runways around Horham, Denham and Redlingfield

Read more
Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Not many people know it but a lot of your favourite films have been made in Suffolk. From blockbusters to independent, here are 21 films made in Suffolk.

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

EADT Suffolk Magazine weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search